The Coordinating Board for Higher Education was established by an amendment to the Missouri Constitution in 1972. The nine-member board oversees the Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development, which serves as the administrative arm of the board and is led by the commissioner.

The board members — one from each of Missouri's eight congressional districts and one selected at large — are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. They serve six-year terms.


Joe Cornelison

Joe Cornelison, 2021 chair


Joe Cornelison was appointed to serve on the CBHE by Gov. Eric Greitens in December 2017. Cornelison served 26 years in the Army, retiring as a colonel. In 1995, after retirement, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be the Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal Commission until its transfer to Panama at the end of 1999. He has nine years of experience in higher education law; first as a university general counsel, then as this department's general counsel and finally as a senior counsel for Husch Blackwell, LLP in Kansas City, from which he has since retired.

Cornelison, a Republican from Maryville, earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a master's degree from Western Kentucky University, and a law degree from Georgetown University. 

Gary Nodler, 2021 vice chair


Gary Nodler was appointed to serve on the CBHE by Gov. Mike Parson in August 2018. Nodler served in the Missouri Senate from 2003 to 2011.  He served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader and on the several committees during his time in the Missouri Senate, including chairman of the appropriations and education committees.


Nodler, a Republican from Joplin, attended Crowder College and holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Missouri Southern State University. Nodler served in the United States Army and in the Missouri National Guard. He is a member of First United Methodist Church, the American Legion, and the National Rifle Association.

Gwendolyn Grant, 2021 secretary


Gwendolyn Grant was appointed to serve on the CBHE by Gov. Mike Parson in August 2018. Grant is the president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City and is the co-founder of the League's Servant Leadership Development  Program. Grant is the founder and facilitator for Destination: Wealth Creationä, and Personal Pathways to Powerful Leadership for Women.


Grant, a Democrat from Kansas City, holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Park University and an M.B.A. from Rockhurst University. She serves as president of Kansas City Public Schools Building Corporation Board, is involved with the Urban Neighborhood Initiative Board of Directors, the National Association for Multicultural Education, and has received numerous honors and awards.

Shawn Saale

Shawn Saale


Shawn Saale was appointed to serve on the CBHE by Gov. Eric Greitens in August 2017. Saale is a partner at Saale & Bailey, LC. He specializes in estate law, business succession planning, and charitable giving. He is a member of the American, Missouri, and St. Charles County Bar Associations and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.


Saale, a Republican from Defiance, serves on the board of directors for Enterprise Bank & Trust and the board of directors for Emmaus Homes. He is past president and Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of St. Charles - Sunrise. He also served as chairman of the board for SSM St. Joseph Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital West Foundation and as a director for Community Living, Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Douglas R. Kennedy, chair

Douglas R. Kennedy


Douglas R. Kennedy was appointed to the CBHE by Gov. Jay Nixon in December 2013. Kennedy is an attorney and has been active with the Boy Scouts of America and other philanthropic organizations. Kennedy also raises cattle and plays bass in a bluegrass band.


Kennedy, a Democrat from Poplar Bluff, is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Memphis Law School.

Dudley McCarter


Dudley McCarter was appointed to serve on the CBHE by Gov. Mike Parson in September 2019. McCarter is is a founding member of Behr, McCarter & Potter, P.C. He previously served as president of The Missouri Bar and the St. Louis County Bar Association, and was a captain in the United States Army Reserves. He was the first in his family to graduate with a college degree.


McCarter, an Independent from St. Louis, earned his bachelor’s degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri. He served as president of the Mizzou Alumni Association, a board member of the Children’s Trust Fund of Missouri, and the Parkway School District school board.

Zora Mulligan, Commissioner of Higher Education